RTÉ will ask over 250 staff to take a redundancy package

The state broadcaster is being restructured to reduce its €20 million deficit.

By Fora Staff

STAFF AT RTÉ are being asked to consider taking redundancies and early retirement as the state broadcaster continues to restructure its organisation to reduce its massive deficit.

As first reported in the Irish Times, RTÉ will be looking for 250 staff members to take the voluntary redundancies over the next two years.

But RTÉ’s media correspondent Sinead Crowley said this morning that she understood “they would take 300 (redundancies) if that was available”.

The national broadcaster, under the new management of director general Dee Forbes, is trying to reduce its massive €20 million deficit – seven times the amount of the previous year’s deficit.

In June of this year, nearly nine acres of land at RTÉ’s Montrose headquarters was sold for €107.5 million.

Forbes defended the sale at the time, saying it “does not represent a ‘bonanza’ or a ‘windfall’” for the broadcaster and that funds raised will not be used reduce operational deficits.

“RTÉ has been operating with vastly reduced commercial and licence fee income, now in the region of €330 million, compared to €440 million in 2008 and has been under-investing in the organisation for nearly a decade now. That is unsustainable.”

Forbes had previously suggested that the cost of the TV licence should be raised from €160 to €175 to boost revenue so that the broadcaster could reinvest in programming.

“RTÉ is playing catch-up in an industry and market that is evolving rapidly,” she said.

€25 million redundancies

Crowley told Morning Ireland today that the redundancy packages on offer were divided depending on the experience of the staff member:

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“So what we know this morning is the terms that are on the table … are divided between people who have had more than 10 years’ service and less than 10 years’ service.”

  • If staff have more than 10 years’ service, RTÉ is offering four weeks pay per year of service, plus statutory entitlement of two weeks’ pay – capped at two years’ salary;
  • For staff with less than two years’ service, the offer is two weeks’ pay per year of service plus that same statutory entitlement.

“Definitely there is an encouragement for staff with more service to think about exiting at this stage,” she said.

Dee Forbes is expected to speak with staff about the terms on offer at a meeting today.

The package has to be signed off  by the government and is expected to cost in the region of €25 million – although that figure depends on who opts for the redundancies.

Written by Gráinne Ní Aodha and posted on TheJournal.ie